Urge the House of Representatives to Fund History


Here is another chance to help support the teaching of history and civics in K-12 schools.

From the blog of the American Historical Association:

In December, President Obama signed into law a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The “Every Student Succeeds Act” restored funding for K–12 history and civics education that was eliminated five years ago. Unfortunately, when the president’s budget request was released on February 9 it did not include appropriations for the major new program source of funding for history and civics.

Left unfunded was a competitive grant program for nonprofit organizations to develop and disseminate innovative approaches to provide high-quality instruction in American history and civics for underserved students.

Representatives Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Gwen Graham (D-FL) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to all members of the House of Representatives, inviting them to sign a letter to the House Appropriations Committee asking for funds for these competitive grants.

The National Coalition for History (NCH) urgently needs you to contact your representative and ask him or her to sign the Ross/Graham “Dear Colleague” letter supporting funding for history and civics education.

How to Contact Your Representative

Please call or e-mail your House member’s office and urge them to support federal funding for history and civics education. To contact your representative, you can use one of these two options. No matter which means of communication you choose, please personalize your message as to your background or interest in history. If you are employed in the education field, especially as a K–12 teacher, mention the institution where you work in your congressional district.

Make a phone call. All members of Congress can be reached through the US Capitol switchboard at (202) 225-3121. If you feel comfortable doing so, a personal phone call is preferable to an e-mail. If you are not sure who your representative is you can follow this link to the House’s website. Then enter your zip code, which will provide a link to your member’s website. Ask the receptionist for the name of the staffer who handles education funding. Then ask to leave a voice mail, or ask for the e-mail address of that staffer.

  • Message: Representatives Ross (R-FL) and Graham (D-FL) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to be sent to the House Appropriations Committee requesting funds for K–12 history and civics grants at the US Department of Education. These new grants were authorized under the “Every Student Succeeds Act” enacted in December. The future health of our democracy depends on the quality of instruction today’s students receive in these subjects. I urge you to support this bipartisan effort by signing on to the Ross/Graham “Dear Colleague” letter to promote the teaching of Traditional American History and civics by funding these programs.

Send an e-mail. NCH, working with our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance, has prepared a one-step link to your House member. You simply enter your address and the system identifies your representative. We’ve provided an e-mail template that can be edited to personalize your message. The message not only goes to your member’s e-mail, but their Twitter account and Facebook page as well.

The National Coalition for History Report on Obama’s FY ’14 Budget

President Obama has submitted his budget request to Congress.  Republicans in Congress have declared it “dead on arrival.” The National Coalition for History reports on what Obama’s budget means for history-related funding.

National Archive and Records Administration would get $5.7 million less than FY ’13.

Funding for the National Historical Publications & Records Commission would drop from $5 million (FY’13) to $3 million (FY’14).

National Endowment for the Humanities:  Obama’s budget request adds $8.4 million to the FY’13 appropriation.

K-12 History Education: Budget is consolidated into a new program called “Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education.”  (You may recall that this new program was put in place after the Teaching American History grants were eliminated in FY’12).  The program would receive much less funding in FY’14 than it did in FY’12 and FY’13.  It supports effective teaching in the arts, foreign languages, history, government, economics, financial literacy, environmental education, physical education, and health education.

Institute of Musuem and Library Servies:  Obama requested a $6 million increase in funding.

National Park Service:  Funding for the Heritage Partnership Program, which supports 49 National Heritage Areas, has been cut in half.  The budget requests $5.5 million to acquire Civil War battlefield lands.

Smithsonian Institution:  Funding would be increased by $59 million from FY’12.

Please Respond to "Deep Funding Cuts" for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission

A joint press release from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC):

If your Senator is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee: Please call or fax the Senator’s office–before the close of business on Friday, June 8, 2012–to ask for support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the “grant-making” arm of the National Archives and Records Administration. The Senate Appropriations Committee will be acting on the bill to fund NHPRC on Tuesday, June 12; all comments must be received tomorrow, Friday, June 8. (See the list of Senate Appropriations Committee members below.)

The Issue: President Obama’s FY13 appropriations budget request proposes only $3 million for NHPRC, a $2 million reduction from the current level of $5 million. This amount is not sufficient to support the ongoing programs and mission of the NHPRC at even a minimal level. It is up to Congress to preserve this program, which has already been cut substantially in previous fiscal years. For FY 2013 we urge the Senate to provide at least $5 million (level funding) for the NHPRC grants program.

Take Action! Call, e-mail, or fax your member on the Senate Appropriations Committee (below) to express your support for restoration of $5 million for NHPRC funding as part of the National Archives budget. In your call, e-mail, or fax, speak to the specific benefits of NHPRC for your state/organization/users. The more your senator understands the benefits to his or her constituents, the more convincing your message will be. Your message need not be extensive–a brief phone call, e-mail, or a one-page fax that speaks directly to the positive benefits that NHPRC brings to your state or organization can have a significant impact!  

Please encourage archives, libraries, and other historical organizations to call or fax on behalf of their organization and users, too.

More detailed contact information for your Senator can be found on the Senate website at: www.senate.gov.

Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee are:

Democratic Members
Daniel Inouye, Hawaii: 202-224-3934 (fax: 202-224-6747)
Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont: 202-224-4242 (f: 202-224-3479)
Tom Harkin, Iowa: 202-224-3254 (f: 202-224-9369)
Barbara Mikulski, Maryland: 202-224-4654 (f: 202-224-8858)
Herb Kohl, Wisconsin: 202-224-5653 (f: 202-224-9787)
Patty Murray, Washington: 202-224-2621 (f: 202-224-0238)
Dianne Feinstein, California: 202-224-3841 (f: 202-228-3954)
Richard J. Durbin, Illinois: 202-224-2152 (f: 202-228-0400)
Tim Johnson, South Dakota: 202-224-5842 (f: 202-228-5765)
Mary Landrieu, Louisiana: 202-224-5824 (f: 202-224-9735)
Jack Reed, Rhode Island: 202-224-4642 (f: 202-224-4680)
Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey: 202-224-3224 (f: 202-228-4054)
Ben Nelson, Nebraska: 202-224-6551 (f: 202-228-0012)
Mark Pryor, Arkansas: 202-224-2353 (f: 202-228-0908)
Jon Tester, Montana: 202-224-2644 (f: 202-224-8594)
Sherrod Brown, Ohio: 202-224-2315 (f: 202-228-6321)

Republican Members
Thad Cochran, Mississippi: 202-224-5054 (fax: 202-224-9450)
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky: 202-224-2541 (f: 202-224-2499)
Richard Shelby, Alabama: 202-224-5744 (f: 202-224-3416)
Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas: 202-224-5922 (f: 202-224-0776)
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee: 202-224-4944 (f: 202-228-3398)
Susan Collins, Maine: 202-224-2523 (f: 202-224-2693)
Lisa Murkowski, Alaska: 202-224-6665 (f: 202-224-5301)
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina: 202-224-5972 (f: 202-228-4611)
Mark Kirk, Illinois: 202-224-2854 (f: 202-228-4611)
Dan Coats, Indiana: 202-224-5623 (f: 202-228-1820)
Roy Blunt, Missouri: 202-224-5721  (f: 202-224-8149)
Jerry Moran, Kansas: 202-224-6521 (f: 202-228-6966)
John Hoeven, North Dakota: 202-224-2551 (f: 202-224-7999)
Ron Johnson, Wisconsin: 202-224-5323 (f: 202-228-6965)

Thank you for taking action to support the needs of NHPRC!